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27 October 2015
News

Witness and Former Police Officer Said He Was Ordered to Count Civilians in Potocari

Albina Sorguc BIRN BiH Sarajevo

A state prosecution witness testifying at the trial of five former Bosnian Serb fighters charged with genocide in Srebrenica said defendant Miodrag Josipovic ordered to him to go to Potocari to monitor the situation and count civilians in July 1995.

The Bosnian state prosecution has charged Dragomir Vasic, Miodrag Josipovic, Branimir Tesic, Danilo Zoljic and Radomir Pantic with genocide committed in Srebrenica in July 1995. They are charged with participating or assisting in the forcible resettlement of the local population from Srebrenica, separating men from their families, as well as capturing and executing men and boys in Bratunac, Srebrenica and Zvornik.

According to the charges, at the time Vasic was the commander of the Zvornik police headquarters, Josipovic was the chief of the public safety station and Tesic was the deputy commander of the police station in Bratunac. Zoljic was the commander of special forces of the public safety center in Zvornik and Pantic was the commander of the First Company of the Special Units of Zvornik’s public safety center.

Milisav Ilic, the former acting chief of the Crime Fighting Section of the Bratunac public safety station, testified at today’s hearing. He said Josipovic ordered him to go to Potocari in July 1995.

“Josipovic ordered me to go to Potocari in order to take note of how many civilians would leave...We had already been informed that civilians had been gathering around the base in Potocari,” Ilic said.

According to Ilic, the evacuation was conducted without any major turbulence.

“Vehicles come, drove in reverse, UNPROFOR opened the gate, women and children ran onto the buses. I was standing there, counting how many people entered the buses,” Ilic said.

Ilic said an UNPROFOR vehicle was in front of the first convoy. He said he didn’t notice any police escort cars or Bratunac police officers in Potocari.

Ilic said many elderly men got on the buses in Potocari, but said he didn’t see any young men.

“I saw Aziz Mujic and Bajazit Delic. They were in a group of men who’d been separated. They were in that white house,” Ilic said.

Ilic said he didn’t know how many buses transported the separated men. He said he returned to Bratunac in the afternoon, but he wasn’t sure whether he conveyed information about Potocari to Josipovic directly or to the duty officer at the police station.

When asked by the defense whether Josipovic had ever given him illegal orders, Ilic answered negatively.

Ilic said he heard some Bosniak captives were held in the school building in Bratunac. He said he wasn’t sure who guarded them and said he’d never been there.

In a statement given to the state prosecution in 2013, Ilic had said that police officers at the Bratunac public safety station guarded the school building. At today’s hearing, he said he didn’t know why he hadn’t said that the military police and the military guarded the school building.

The trial will continue on November 3.
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